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Pakistan’s cricket squad suffered an unexpected loss to newcomers USA in a nail-biting Super Over during the ICC T20 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024. The defeat, which took place in Dallas, not only disappointed the nation’s cricket enthusiasts but also sparked concerns about Pakistan’s team composition, performance, and strategy. In this analysis, we delve into various facets of the game, examining the weaknesses that led to this unforeseen defeat.

Batting Struggles:
Pakistan’s batting lineup faced difficulties against USA’s bowling attack, failing to capitalize on crucial moments despite having seasoned players. The middle order, in particular, lacked the resilience necessary to chase down USA’s modest target. Issues such as poor shot selection and a lack of partnerships were evident, with key players like Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman failing to anchor the innings effectively. Additionally, players like Azam Khan underperformed, while Iftikhar Ahmed and Usman Khan couldn’t make significant contributions. The team’s inability to rotate the strike and exploit loose deliveries significantly contributed to their downfall.

Bowling Inconsistencies:
Pakistan’s usually reliable bowling lineup displayed surprising inconsistency. Haris Rauf struggled with his line and length, frequently delivering full tosses at critical moments, which allowed USA to score freely. Although Mohammad Amir managed to tie the match, his performance in the Super Over was disappointing, as he conceded wides under pressure. The lack of disciplined bowling and ineffective execution of yorkers were glaring weaknesses.

Fielding Weaknesses:
Fielding, a crucial aspect of a strong cricket team, was subpar for Pakistan. Missed catches and sloppy ground fielding added to their woes, allowing USA to gain crucial runs. The team’s lack of agility and anticipation on the field proved costly in such a closely contested match.

Super Over Analysis:
Pakistan’s strategic decisions during the Super Over came under scrutiny. Mohammad Amir’s inability to maintain control, resulting in wides under pressure, gave USA the edge despite not conceding sixes. Additionally, the selection of batsmen for the Super Over raised questions, with Fakhar Zaman, a proven big-hitter, being overlooked for Iftikhar Ahmed, who struggled to find boundaries. Sending Shadab Khan instead of more reliable options further weakened their chances.

Babar Azam’s Captaincy:
Babar Azam’s leadership left much to be desired. His decisions regarding field placement and bowling rotations lacked foresight. Sending Iftikhar Ahmed ahead of more capable hitters during the Super Over was a critical mistake, reflecting his reluctance to make bold decisions and inability to inspire confidence in his players.

Strategy for Future Matches:
To avoid further embarrassing defeats, especially against arch-rivals India, Pakistan must adopt a more aggressive and calculated approach. Building partnerships and effective strike rotation should be prioritized in batting, with key players like Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam taking responsibility. The bowling unit needs to execute plans with precision, particularly in the death overs.

Team Selection and Changes:
The current squad requires reevaluation. Underperforming players like Azam Khan should be replaced by promising talents such as Abrar Ahmed and Mohammad Abbas Afridi. Resting players like Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed could inject fresh energy and improve performance levels.

Pakistan’s Chances of Advancing:
Despite the setback, Pakistan still has a chance to qualify for the next round by winning their remaining matches. A victory against India is crucial for boosting confidence and standings. However, a loss would complicate their chances, necessitating wins against other teams in their group.

Pakistan’s defeat to USA exposes weaknesses in batting, bowling, and fielding. Strategic changes and renewed determination are essential to avoid further upsets and advance in the tournament. Collective effort from management and players is crucial to overcoming shortcomings and delivering performances worthy of their global reputation.

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